Hidden Gem of South Cotobato– Lake Sebu

Meet Kuya Jay Arr, a dog lover and a traveler I met online. Well, the reason why I am introducing him on my blog is because he is basically the reason why I wanted to go my next destination– Lake Sebu.

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Kuya Jay Arr in action. Tell me who won’t be mesmerized by this kind of view while riding a zipline! Adrenaline rush!

Lake Sebu is a natural lake located in the municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato within the Alah Valley region. The Philippine government has recognized it as one of the country’s most important watersheds.

When I saw Kuya Jay Arr’s facebook profile picture, I asked him where was it. He answered me immediately then I decided to add it on my 7-day Mindanao trip.

Well, I don’t have any idea what is ahead of me on this solo trip, no one does, but since, I’ve decided to pursue it, I made more research about the place. Kuya Jay infact, gave me the contact number of a local tourist guide in Lake Sebu who also helped me arranged my trip.

Also, I recommend that first, read my previous post regarding my trip in Surigao Del Sur. Technically, its my 3rd night now in Mindanao since I spent my first 3 days in Surigao.

On my 3rd night, I began to track my way going to South Cotobato. It was easy but very tiring.

How to go?

By air and by land:

The nearest airport going to Lake Sebu is in General Santos city. Flight from Manila to General Santos city is approximately 2 hours. Alternatively, you may also take a Davao flight from Manila with an approximate travel time of 1 hour and 35 minutes which I actually did.

On my part, since I am coming from Britania islands, San Agustin, Surigao Del Sur, I rode a van that has a signboard of San Francisco Agusan Del Sur going to its terminal then I rode another van going to Davao City. Travel time is approximately 5-6 hours. I arrived in Ecoland Bus Terminal, Davao City around 12midnight.

On the other hand, from Davaoโ€™s Francisco Bangoy International airport, take a cab to Ecoland bus terminal. Cab fare is approximately 200 Php to 250 Php and travel time is approximately 30 minutes.

Once you reach the Ecoland bus terminal, there are a number of bus classes going to General Santos City. The earliest trip from Davao to General Santos is 1am. They say there’s no direct trip from Davao to Marbel Koronadal but luckily, the bus I rode is going directly to Marbel but their first stop is in General Santos. The fare is less than Php 200 from Davao to Gensan and another ticket was issued from Gensan to Marbel for a cheaper fee. As far as I remember, it costed me around Php350 to get to Surallah already.

I'm still hungry tho. Good morning. -_- . . #karlasolotrip #solobackpacker #pinasmuna #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travelph

A post shared by Karla Joy Aguilar (@my200lbsadventure) on

We departed around 1am and approximately brought me to General Santos city in 3 to 4 hours. From General Santos, another 1.5 hours going to Marbel Koronadal. From Marbel, I rode an ordinary bus going to Surallah terminal fron only less than a hundred peso.

If you are coming from General Santos airport, head to Eusebio Bulaong bus terminal. The bus from Gen San will drop you off at  Marbel Koronadal City bus terminal. From there, just walk few meters to Denmark terminal and hop to a van going to Lake Sebu or ride a bus again going to  Surallah for less than a hundred.

From Surallah, there are habal-habals going up to Lake Sebu already. This is where my tour guide picked me up and took our way to the town proper.

Tip: Lake Sebu has been called as Mindanao’s little Baguio due to its climate. When I visited there, the weather is very cold and in the afternoon, its raining.

The way back to Davao is easier since there’s a van available from Lake Sebu proper to General Santos then take a bus to Davao terminal already.

Where to Stay?

Since I arrived at around 8am already in the town proper, Kuya Jun brought me to the town traveler’s inn. I know this may sound crazy but the inn only costs Php60 per night. So I left my bags in my inn and started to wander. Also, we registered in their tourist’s list since that’s mandated by their local government.

Where to go?

1. Divine Mercy Santuary

My first stop is the Divine Mercy Santuary located atop of the hill in Brgy. Lamdalag  where you can have a bird’s eye view of Lake Sebu. The road going here is still rough but when I went there, they were already cementing the road so I supposed by now, it’s already done.

The Lamdalag Divine Mercy Sanctuary was opened earlier last year and since then flocked by visitors and tourists including devotees of the Divine Mercy. The place is open to all regardless of religion. It is serene, quiet and peaceful. Infact, Lamdalag Divine Mercy Sanctuary also has a retreat center which can accommodate up to 200 guests.

What’s unique about the place is the 45m statue of Divine Mercy.

2. Lang Dulay’s Weaving House

Along the way up to Brgy. Lamdalag, you will pass by the house of the legend Lang Dulay– the master of T’nalak weaving. Though has joined the creator last 2015, “The Dreamweaver” has left her a legacy by teaching her family to do the manual weaving.

Lang Dulay is a ninety-one year-old Tโ€™boli  who received the โ€œNational Treasures-Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayanโ€ award given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Her T’nalak clothes had marked a great work of Art for T’bolis and will always be tributed to her.

You will meet the other weaver who also sells an original T’nalak cloth for a reasonable price and some other stuff made by it also.

3. The Seven Waterfalls and Zip Line

Lake Sebu has became famous due to this seven walls which can be viewed by riding a zipline. This is one of  the highlights of my itinerary for Lake Sebu. There’s an entrance fee worth Php20.

A few walks away from the entrance, you can already see the first waterfall, Facalled Hikong Alo is the widest of all seven. Standing tall at 70 feet is Falls 2, Hikong Bente, that can be reached after descending from more than 700 steps of stairs from Falls 1. Hikong B’Lebel, Hikong Lowig and Hikong K’Fo-i can be seen when taking the zip line and commonly known as Falls 3, 4, and 5. Hikong Ukol and Hikong Tonok are Falls 6 and 7 respectively.

And of course, I will never miss the chance why I am here– to ride the highest zipline in South East Asia. To ride the zipline is the easiest way to see five of the seven falls in one go. The ride is two way for only Php300.

4. Punta Isla, Floating Restaurant

The experience of going to Lake Sebu will be more exciting if you’re going to try out their floating restaurant and their native food.

The town’s famous for fresh tilapia in different variety of dishes which you’ll be able to eat during the tour. You will also witness a live performance of the T’boli tribe. All these for only Php250.

5. Lake Sebu Museum

Technically, this is owned by a private collector who happens to be a professor also. I was able to meet him but I forgot his name. The entrance fee is only Php 20 only for adults and Php10 for students.

Visit this T’boli Museum and see a collection of antiques and artifacts in a room patterned into a traditional t’boli house. You will see some of their native costumes. You will also learn about T’boli Tribe’s arts and culture by checking on their tinalak dresses, brass sculptures, colorful accessories, native musical instruments and a number of photos.

6. Lake Seloton

Lake Seloton is one of the three lakes in the Municipality of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato and is said to be the deepest. It is also known as a favorite place among photographers for shooting sunrise.

I spent my next morning and caught sunrise in Sunrise Garden Lake Resort, the only resort in the area. There were blooming lotus, locals fishing and feeding fishes using their traditional canoe called owong. I also rode a water cycle for only Php50 for 30 mins per pax.

7. Lotus flowers, Lake Sebu

This is one of the most visited place in Lake Sebu, the garden full of lotus flowers in the lake proper. The flowers are only blooming on the morning and will close its petals around 10am. The flowers help to maintain the cleanliness of the lake and also attracting many tourists. The boat ride is for Php200 only.

Local tour guide:

My local tour guide is Kuya Jun who is also referred by Kuya Jay R. You may contact him thru his facebook messenger/account– Kuya Jun Aranas.

So to keep in track, this is already my 5th day on my 7 days tour in Mindanao– from Surigao Del Sur to Davao Oriental to Lake Sebu South Cotobato and now down to my last destination– Samal island.

I will post my next article regarding my tour in this island.

Enjoy reading!

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